|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Tennessee's 1st district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2021
|Preceded by||Phil Roe|
|Born||January 1, 1960|
Kingsport, Tennessee, U.S.
|Education||East Tennessee State University (BS)|
Mercer University (PharmD)
Diana Lynn Harshbarger (// HARSH-barg-ər; born January 1, 1960) is an American pharmacist, businesswoman, and politician serving as the U.S. representative for Tennessee's 1st congressional district. The district is based in the Tri-Cities area in northeastern Tennessee.
Harshbarger was born in Kingsport, Tennessee, and raised in nearby Bloomingdale. She is the first person in her family to graduate from high school. She earned her bachelor's degree from East Tennessee State University and her Doctor of Pharmacy from Mercer University.
Harshbarger has been a licensed pharmacist since 1987. She and her husband, Bob, operate Premier Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy.
After six-term incumbent and fellow Republican Phil Roe opted to retire from the United States House of Representatives, Harshbarger announced her candidacy to succeed him in the United States House of Representatives for Tennessee's 1st congressional district. She won the 17-way August 5 Republican primary and defeated Democratic nominee Blair Walsingham in the November general election. She had effectively clinched a seat in Congress with her victory in the primary, since the 1st is one of the few ancestrally Republican districts in the South; it has been in Republican hands for all but four years since 1861, and Democrats have garnered as much as 40% of the vote only twice since 1898. When Harshbarger took office on January 3, 2021, she became the fifth woman elected to Congress from Tennessee, but only the third who was not a stand-in for her husband, after Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn. The 1st historically gives its incumbents very long tenures in Washington; Harshbarger is only the ninth person to hold the seat in 100 years.
Harshbarger focused her campaign on fixing the opioid crisis, advocating anti-abortion legislation, and protecting religious freedom. She also highlighted American dependence on Chinese pharmaceutical imports as an issue of national security. During the Republican primary, her opponents criticized her over her alleged involvement with American Inhalation Medication Specialists (AIMS), a business her husband ran that sold mislabeled pharmaceuticals from China. In 2013 Robert Harshbarger pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to the company and was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison, in addition to over $800,000 in restitution and over $400,000 in asset forfeiture. Harshbarger's campaign said she had no involvement with AIMS, despite corporate records to the contrary.
Harshbarger declined to debate her competitors during the primary and general elections.
On January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump broke into the U.S. Capitol during debate. Lawmakers fled to an undisclosed location for safety. Later that evening, Harshberger joined 139 other Republican House members in voting to sustain objections to the certification of the results of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, based on false claims of voter fraud.
|Independent||Josh Berger (write-in)||4||0.0|